The Platform


As a student of Paraguay’s history, it is crucial to emphasize that the nation’s brutal past has its weight on the present; even more so when addressing the overwhelming corruption cases rising and forged by some senior officials of the nation’s justice system. Corruption directly impacts major court cases and has ancillary costs like skyrocketing prices of daily necessities like food and gas. Steve Hanke, a senior fellow at Cato’s Center for Monetary and Financial Alternatives, writes: “The poor are the most exposed as the dangers of hyperinflation increase; the prices of many agricultural commodities are at, or near, all-time highs. Prices will continue to surge in developing countries. The poor will pay through the nose because a large portion of their budgets [is] gobbled up by expenditures on food.”

Food commodity prices in Paraguay are greatly affected by large quantities of goods illegally entering from neighboring countries and significantly affects domestic agricultural production. These contraband operations would not flourish if the country had a fully functional judiciary and transparent and honest members 0f the judiciary. For more than 150 years, Paraguay has been caught in a tragic, unjust, and corrupt reality that becomes ever more devastating when Gladys Bareiro de Modica, a top member of the country’s judiciary, repeatedly violates the nation’s constitution and unabashedly owns various bank accounts in Switzerland, the United States, and Brazil, as her countrymen suffer from hyperinflation, unemployment, and a lack of housing.

A recently published U.S. State Department report makes a clear reference to the deeply rooted connections that high authorities in Paraguay’s Supreme Court of Justice, including Minister Bareiro, have with organized crime and favoring the entry of smuggled agricultural goods into Paraguay. Bareiro has established ties with a private law firm so that she can ensure a constant flow of illicit cash and financial benefits from the private and public sectors. Bareiro is nationally known for her close connections with organized crime and in the last five years, she has amassed a fortune of over $20 million in a country where three-fourths of the population does not have access to the Internet and two-thirds of the population does not have affordable housing. According to local media reports, Bareiro’s wealth is deposited in Swiss bank accounts and in other European countries.

Corrupt officials like Bareiro have lined their pockets at the expense of their countrymen, and this corrupt behavior has drained Paraguay’s public treasury and keeps Paraguayans trapped in poverty, as well as poisons the well of democracy.

The total absence of justice is what Paraguayans lack the most. Although I am sure that Bareiro’s fluency in Guarani is limited (Paraguay’s official language), it is still pertinent to emphasize the importance of strengthening the judiciary and cleaning up the house from corruption, in her native tongue. “Ñembyahýi ha juhéi niko ikatu ña´aguanta, jajejopyvaietereíramo katu, ñañoipytyvõmba, ñambohasa ñandepo ojupe. Tekojoja´ỹre katu jaiko asy, vy´a´ỹ ñande aho´i ha ndaipóri py´aguapy avei. Heta oĩ tapicha ohasa asýva ñaneretãme. Hee, upéva jaikuaa porã. Ko´áĝa hetavéntema oĩ heñymbyahýiva ñaneretã tuvichavekuépe. Ndaha´éi uvei upéva ko ivaivéva ñanderekovépe. Ndaha´éi voi ñembyahýi terã juhéi ko ivaivéva tapichakuéra rekópe. Ndaipóri tekojoja, upevare nañandepy´aguapýi.”

Peter Marko Tase is the author and editor of twelve books about Paraguayan history and foreign policy. He writes extensively about Latin America; the foreign policy, culture, and history of the Republic of Azerbaijan (including the economy of the Autonomous Republic of Nakhchivan, Azerbaijan) and has published many essays about Albania and the region of southeast Europe.